Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Proposal in 1912 to add mystic charm to S.L. with various names changes -- Lone Peak, Cottonwood Canyons

JUST over a century ago, there was a brief effort to try and change some Salt Lake area geographical names, "to add mystic charm" and avoid the commonplace.
The Salt Lake Herald newspaper of July 25, 1912 stated that Joseph E. Caine suggested a change in some titles for the area during a speech given at Liberty Park.
City Creek and Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons were particularly mentioned as being too commonplace of names for an area so rich in pioneer history and effort.
"With such a world of romance in our history we should not have given to that magnificent gorge of the Wasatch so commonplace a name as Big Cottonwood Canyon. City Creek, Big and Little Cottonwood and Mill Creek Canyons, Twin Peaks and Lone Peak are all misnamed," the story reported. 
"There are a thousand cottonwood canyons in the western United States and as many mill creek canyons.Let us give to these and other great works of nature names that will mean something in the history of our state and that will carry with them the romantic charm of the days of the trail blazers."
Caine also suggested that Timpanogos be returned as the name for Utah Lake, as the Spanish explorers and Father Escalante had titled it.
He said more unusual name changers could "add to this state a mystic charm that will live forever in poetry, in painting and in song."
Sadly, Caine's suggestions were not heeded, or perhaps the commonplace names he wanted changed were already too permanent in the minds of Utahns.
And, certainly in the 21st Century, such names have well over a century of use.
Perhaps the "lone" example of a name Caine suggested that actually had an effort to alter it, was Lone Peak. For at least a few years in the mid 1910s, there was a temporary renaming to "Mount Jordan" instead. (Lone Peak is a distinctive, solitary peak at the far south end of the S.L. Valley.) The new name didn't stick, but it was used in many a newspaper story of that decade, including the S.L. Herald of Sept. 6, 1915.
Caine also neglected to mention that there are three sets of "Twin Peaks," found just along the length of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake County. Why that name repetition? Who knows, but "Double Peak" and North and South Twin could at least have been a little less confusing set of titles.

-Regarding Lone Peak, it was thrown back into public notice at the end of 1936 when a plan crashed on that mountain and yet could not be found for almost six months.
On Dec. 13, 1936, a Western Air Express transport plane crashed some 43 minutes before it was due at the Salt Lake Airport.
In  early June of 1937, some hikers found some airmail blown around near the top of the mountain and that led to finally locating the plane wreckage and the remains of its  four passengers and three crew members, finally ending the tragic suspense of the disaster.
An elevation of 11,000 feet above sea level, an arctic-like weather made location and recovery vert difficult.
It was believed, according to the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper of June 7, 1937, that it the aircraft had just been another 20 to 25 feet higher, it would have cleared the granite mountaintop safely.

-Lone Peak was back in the news about 18 months later when four Salt Lake men climbed Lone Peak's summit in a record three hours and 58 minutes.
Orson Spencer, Odell Pedersen, W.C. Kamp and Keith Anderson made the speedy climb from the Alpine side, They are members of the Wasatch Mountain Club and their exploit was reported in the Telegram of Oct. 3, 1938.

(-Other sources: “Utah Place Names,”: by John W. Van Cott and the Salt Lake Tribune, May 28, 1916.)

-Originally published in the Deseret News on Dec. 26, 2017.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Brigham Young used bodyguards too at times

                                   A statue of Brigham Young.

THERE'S probably not a single family in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that boasts a lengthy history dating back to the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith that doesn't claim that at least one of their ancestors was a bodyguard to the Prophet.
However, Brigham Young, the successor to President Smith, also used bodyguards at times.
For example, the Deseret News of May 2, 1877, reported that "a guard of about 25 young men" accompanied President Young from St. George to Beaver. This was an army of protection for the church leader.
"The President has deemed this precaution necessary, it is said, on account of threats made by the sons of  John D. Lee," the Deseret News story stated.

A trio of unusually titled mountain ranges in Utah -- San Francisco, Wah Wah and Confusion

                                              Kings Peak, center, highest point in Utah.

UTAH boasts a fleet of lofty mountain ranges. There are the kingpin of tall ranges -- the High Uintas, the La Sals, the Wasatch and the Tushar range.
However, the Beehive State also contains dozens of shorter mountain ranges, some remote and others far lesser-known.
For example, Utah has its own San Francisco Mountains, located west of Millard. And, in that same are are the Wah Wah Mountains. This particular area has a colorful mining history that dates back to the 1870 and the Wah Wah Range rises to more than 8,400 feet above sea level. The downside to this area is that it is very dry, with few regular sources of water.
Found west of Delta is another unusually name mountain string -- the Confusion Range. This mountain terrain was first publicly mentioned in an 1894 newspaper account and rises to a maximum of 7,430 feet.
-There are also periodic efforts in Utah to rename some natural features that are sometime deemed offensive in the 21st Century era of political correctness.
For example, Squaw Peak in Provo Canyon is one of these possibly demeaning titles.
However, there is also a same-named "Squaw Peak" located west of Milford. And there is also a "Squaw Springs" found in the La Sal Mountains.

The first sermon ever delivered in Utah territory

WHAT was the first sermon ever delivered in Utah?

According to the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper of July 24, 1921, it was delivered by a Mormon Apostle, Orson Pratt, on July 24, 1847, soon after the first group of pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.

                                             Elder Orson Pratt

Elder Pratt based his talk on two verses from the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, Chapter 52, verses 7-8:

7. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publishethpeace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
8. Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion."
(Note that LDS Church President Brigham Young was too ill that day to give a discourse.)

Elder Pratt's discourse was an inspiration to the pioneers, since they had all safely made the trek to the Salt Lake Valley.
-And, on July 24, 1921, some LDS Church members met in Parley's Canyon (named after Elder Pratt's older brother, Parley), and held a campfire reunion to honor Orson Pratt and other pioneers. Many of this group were descendants of Pratt himself.

'Kolob' -- A unique Utah name

KOLOB is certainly one of the most unusual of titles in the Beehive State.
In Mormon (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) scripture, the word refers to the closest known residence in the heavens to where God resides.
Since Utah territory was settled by Mormon pioneers, the name Kolob is affixed to some natural features.
Southern Utah pioneers first began naming some of the impressive formations around today's Zion National Park with that title and it stuck and eventually became official monikers.
"Kolob Peak" and "Kolob Canyon," both located at the west side of today's Zion Park, were first mentioned in newspaper accounts in 1889 by the Salt Lake Herald (Dec. 25 edition).
The Iron County Record newspaper of Feb. 28, 1957 reported that the name Kolob Arch was approved by Zion Park officials that year. This large arch was first discovered in 1928 by Dr. Herbert E. Gregory and the name Kolob for the 300-foot-plus span was used early on.
Today, the Kolob Canyons drive, off I-15, between Cedar City and St. George, accesses this northwestern section of Zion National Park.

                            An upper section of the Kolob Canyons drive.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

1937: When the Skyline Drive, between Farnington and Bountiful, opened

THE Skyline Drive/backway mountain dirt road, between Farmington and Bountiful, Utah, first opened on August 29, 1937.
"Connecting last link and route of new mountain highway" was an Aug. 31, 1937 headline in the Davis County Clipper newspaper.
For the first time on Aug. 29 that year, an automobile traversed the entire 27-mile stretch between the two cities.
James E. Gurr, supervisor of the Wasatch National Forest and J.P. Martin, regional engineer for the Forest Service in Ogden were the first two to travel the road.

The road was built by CCC crews and transient labor, over five years, from 1933-1937. Besides the scenic nature of the road, it also gives firefighters easy access to the area.
The Farmington Canyon portion was stated in the story as the most difficult. Drilling was required through solid rock to create thjat 7.5-mile portion of the road -- most of it "on a precipitous and rocky hillside." Two bridges over Farmington Creek were also required there.
The road tops out at 9,150-foot above sea level in the Bountiful Peak area.

                             Farmington Canyon can be blocked by snow well into summer.

The road was also built because of the flooding problems in the area during the 1920-1930s time period. Erosion control dykes were also established, to better control runoff.
-The Sunset Picnic/Campground area in Farmington Canyon was dedicated on May 23, 1939 by the U.S. Forest Service. Located six miles up the Canyon, the area was previously the Farmington junction camp, used to camp road workers.

                       The FAA's portion of the road to Francis Peak.

-According to the Davis County Clipper of Dec. 6, 1968, a section of road off the Skyline Drive was planned to go down into the Morgan area, on the east side of the Wasatch Mountains. However, that was never built.
It was also hoped that there could be a ski resort established on Farmington Flats. That never materialized either.
-An aerial tramway was also planned up Shepard Canyon to Francis Peak in the 1970s. Although there was little opposition to this plan (Davis County Clipper Aug. 5, 1977), it also never happened.
Original funding was $1.1 million for the tram and it would have been able to carry up four men and 3,000 total pounds. The tram ride would have taken but seven minutes, as compared with 1.5 miles to drive the dirt road to the Radar Domes. It would have featured 12 towers up the mountainside, to the 9,500-foot elevation summit.
The tramway was considered very cost effective, as compared to keeping the dirt road passable all winter. In fact, the study showed the tram would have paid for itself in eight years, since the Francis Peak station is manned year-round.
]The tramway plan's environmental study got bogged down in its own federal redtape and its construction costs skyrocketed and mean the project never happened.

  The junction up Farmington Canyon, where the road slips, north to Francis Peak or south to Bountiful Peak.

-All photos by Roger Arave.

Back when the poverty-stricken lived on ‘Poor Farms’ and didn’t receive welfare checks

Where the "Poor Farm" in Weber County used to be, where the Heritage Park Rehabilitation and HealthCare Center is located now, at about 2700 West, along 5600 South in Roy.

ALMOST a decade before Roy, Utah even received its name, Weber County had a poor farm in that locality on what was then known as the “Sandridge” or the “Ridge” 
From the Salt Lake Herald newspaper of July 21, 1887:

“Weber County has bought a poor farm. The farm consists of eighty acres near the Hooper switch on the Utah Central. The purchase is intended to furnish a self-supporting home for unfortunates who may be thrown upon the public charity.”
The original farms encompassed 80 acres and was located just north of what today would be 2700 West and 5500 South (just west of the Union Pacific railroad tracks and east of the Rio Grande Rail Trail). It was purchased for $1,800.
The farm was surrounded by a barb wire fence and included large fields of produce. There was a small house on the property and more buildings were added later to accommodate the occupants, who were often referred to as “inmates.”
 If a person in Weber County could not sustain themselves, then they lived on the farm and worked as much as they were able to support themselves.
Roy, Utah was first settled in 1873, but didn’t even have a post office until 1894 and so the poor farm predated that. Indeed, the first mention of Roy being the community with a poor farm was in the Davis County Clipper on Aug. 26, 1910.
There was eventually a small cemetery on the property and so if a resident died and had no other means of burial, they were interred there. There were likely 25-30 burials made over the decades there, though what eventually happened to the cemetery is unknown.
(The mystery of the cemetery is explored in detail at www.thedeadhistory.com)

                            Another view of where the "Poor Farm" in Roy used to be.

A June 6, 1911 report in the Ogden Evening Standard featured a visit by Weber County and Ogden area leaders to the poor farm in Roy. The leaders were challenged to eat the same lunch as the farm occupants and they accepted the offer. The report from the poor farm cook was excellent and no one went hungry. The poor farm was mentioned as having vegetable gardens and orchards then, but no cattle, though some other poor farms in Utah did have herds too.
 By the early 20th Century, the poor farm became known as the Weber County Infirmary. A fire in 1921 destroyed the main building on the property. Later, Weber County sold off property and used it to create other facilities closer to Ogden City, than 7 miles distant.
 In 1960, the Weber County Chronic Disease Hospital opened. Then, the name was changed to Weber Memorial Hospital.
By the 21st Century, the name was Heritage Park Rehabilitation and HealthCare Center.

                  Still another view of where the {Poor Farm" was in Roy (right side.)

(One of my grandmothers, who lived in Hooper, often joked that she’d end up at the poor farm, if she couldn’t take care of herself. Sadly, when her heart began to fail at age 93, she was placed in Weber Memorial Hospital – at the very site of the old poor farm – and she seemed to lament that, before passing away a few months later.
When the facility had transformed to the Weber Memorial Hospital status in the 1960s, it was the closest medical office to Hooper and all of western Roy. I recall visiting a doctor housed there in 1964.)

Salt Lake County also had a poor farm too. It was located somewhere south of Salt Lake City and was mentioned in a story in the Salt Lake Herald on Aug. 25, 1889.
Box Elder County also had its own poor farm, located on 20 acres, with many fruit trees (from the Brigham City Bugler newspaper of Aug. 1, 1890).
Cache County had a poor farm in Logan also (Logan Journal June 8, 1892) and so did Sanpete County in Manti, one 40 acres (Salt Lake Tribune June 7, 1895).
Salt Lake County also used poor farm residents to perform some road work (Salt Lake Times Aug. 31, 1892) to save money on construction and street repairs.
Nationally, there were poor farms all over the country during the same period. 
The poor farms were all gone by World War II, replaced by sanitariums and other facilities. And, then the welfare system came into prominence…

The first Tony Grove reports in Logan Canyon

                                        Tony Grove, Utah.                        Photo by Roger Arave

"Camp at Tony Grove" was an Aug. 15, 1897 report in the Logan Journal newspaper. This may be the first recorded account of camping in the area, just north of Logan Canyon, Utah.
"There is a merry crowd of campers at Tony Grove in Logan Canyon ..." the report stated.
At least 125 people were camped there then, "enjoying the exquisite scenery, the fresh bracing air, the cool days and nights, refreshing sleep, fishing and all the pleasures of an unceremonius canyon existence."
At evening, the crowd gathered for a large bonfire party, with music, singing and games by moonlight. Many of the campers planned to spend another week or two at the resort.

                                                                    Photo by Roger Arave

Indeed, according to the book, "Utah Place Names," by John W. Van Cott, the Tony Grove name originated from the loggers and cattlemen of the 1880s who would observe all the well-to-do "Tony" people who could afford to camp and stay in the area for long stretches in the summer. The name eventually transitioned from the people to the place.
The Ogden Standard-Examiner on June 29, 1924 reported the largest excursion ever to visit Logan Canyon, with up to 600 students and faculty of the Utah Agricultural College converging at Tony Grove.
The group spent the day hiking and playing games. They even explored a remote cave on the mountainside, being descended by rope's to its opening. It was said to be located above Logan Cave. They hiked to area landmarks, like White Pine Lake, Gog and Magog and Mount Naomi (highest point in Cache County).
The college had sponsored such a day to Tony Grove since at least 1920.
-Access to Tony Grove is 19.2 miles up Logan Canyon,  east of Logan, Utah, at an elevation of 8,100 feet above seal level. A paved, 7-mile side road winds up the mountainside, passing several cattle grazing areas, to a U.S. Forest Service Campground and the lake. Today, besides camping and fishing, fields of wildflowers and well-maintained hiking trails grace the area.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Back when ‘Frankenstein’ terrorized (and thrilled) Clarkston, Utah

Clarkson is just south of the Idaho border in Northern Utah, as seen on the Utah State Highway map.

 “FRANKENSTEIN” is an iconic fictional monster that was first unveiled in a British novel by Mary Shelly in 1818. Decades later, some plays and several silent movies were made about the creature.
Then, in 1931, Boris Karloff starred as the monster in a major Hollywood movie, “Frankenstein” and the fame of the imaginary beast spread.
Clarkston, Utah, a small town northwest of Logan, in Cache County, had its own version of “Frankenstein” too, or rather a “Frankenstein Masquerade” in the 1940s.

These “sightings” sparked both excitement and fear in the community.
(Surprisingly, a detailed search of Cache Valley newspapers in the 1940s found not a single mention of this “Frankenstein.” Perhaps, no one wanted to encourage an escalation of the sightings?)
Essentially, Dennis Griffin, a young teenager at the time, ordered through the mail an elaborate rubber Frankenstein mask. He and friends would take turns in the evening darkness putting the mask on and frightening mostly persons walking alone.
The boys were wise enough to perceive that frightening groups was somewhat dangerous in too many unpredictable things could happen …
One time Dennis was chased by a policeman rushed home, slipped through his bedroom window, and pretended to be asleep.
Dennis and friends only wore the mask – and only had regular clothes on otherwise.
At one point of time in the 1940s, some youth were so afraid of the monster appearing that they would not attend the LDS Church’s MIA activities at night for a time.
Local leaders did receive complaints of the monster sightings, but Dennis’ recollection was that most knew it was youth pranking and looking for a quick scare.
The neighboring town of Newton also heard of the monster and some were afraid it would appear there too.
Dennis only remembers wearing the mask about 4 times. However, he loaned to friends and eventually other, old boys. One of those boys never returned the mask and Dennis failed to ever get it back. Where it went was a mystery.
He recalls some sightings continued into the late 1940s and perhaps even early 1950s – with or without a mask. Some may have been copycats.
Still, Dennis recalls this pranking lightened some of the mood during World War II and even the concern about nuclear weapons afterward. For a small, dull farming town, the sightings also sparked a little excitement.
-As related on Ancestry.com, Dennis Griffin and his wife, wrote an account of his masquerade of Frankenstein, that must go down in history as one of the best on-going pranks ever in the Beehive State.

-Access the full, original report of “CLARKSTON’S FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER OF THE 1940s"


-NOTE 1: It should also be mentioned too that a few decades later, the town of Clarkston might have had a visit by a real monster, Bigfoot? ---  As something both strange and terrible stomped through town late one night in the early 1970s. Some residents were awakened and frightened by weird screams, according to one resident at the time.

NOTE 2: Clarkson is most famous today for its every other year “Clarkston Pageant – Martin Harris: The Man Who Knew” (performed again in August of 2019).



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Mount Nebo: The 1920 hopes for an observatory on its summit

                                                                 Mount Nebo.

MOUNT NEBO is the highest peak in the Wasatch Mountains, at 11, 928 feet above sea level. (Actually, it is three separate pinnacles.)
Nebo was mentioned in the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper of March 25, 1920 as being urged to have an observatory atop its summit. This was to be a "Yankee Memorial," to honor the soldiers, sailors an marines of all wars that the United States had been involved in. 
It was also noted that a radio station could be housed on its lofty summit. Having a searchlight, powered by the streams around the huge mountain, was another proposal.
Of course, none of that ever happened, but it had been a dream of George B. Hobbs, a Nephi, Utah resident. (Nephi is just southwest of Mount Nebo.)
Hobbs felt that the searchlight atop Nebo would be beneficial to aviators flying through Utah.
-"Aloft on Mount Nebo" was a March 1, 1920 headline in the Salt Lake Herald newspaper. "Utah peak has beauty of Alps; Grandeur in view," the story stated.

             The view from atop the southern Mount Nebo, where the official trail ends.

After completion of an official trail to the top of Mount Nebo, 82 hikers made it to the summit on August 6, 1919.
The story reported that Nephi residents wanted to make the Salt Creek trailhead and area "a playground" for all to enjoy.
-"Gov. Dern leads party to the top of Mount Nebo" was an Aug. 19, 1927 headline in the Mount Pleasant Pyramid newspaper. The Governor of Utah and many others witnessed the sunrise on top of the lofty peak.
Later in the day, there was a program with the Nephi High School Band and speeches. At evening time, there was a large bonfire and dance by Miss Dorothy Haymond.
Groups hikes to Mount Nebo continued for some years afterward, but never quite caught on to the extent that Mount Timpanogos Hikes did. This is likely because of the lower population base around Nebo, as well as its lack of glaciers or continual streams flowing on its eastern side.

-NOTE that the trail mentioned above and today, only leads to the south peak of Mount Nebo, at 11,877 feet above sea level. The highest of the three peaks is the north one, with access by a knife edge of rocks, or from the east on a severe incline. The Middle Nebo Peak is third highest at 11,824 feet. 

         A photo from the mountain saddle, clearing showing Mount Nebo's triple peaks.

ALL three photographs above are courtesy of Ray Boren.

1856: When Yosemite was first mentioned to residents of Utah territory

                                                                   Yosemite Valley.

NONE can deny that Yosemite National Park is one of the most incredible of landscapes on the planet. And, when did the early residents of Utah first hear of this fantastic place?
The June 9, 1856 edition of the Deseret News had this headline:
"The Valley of the Yo-Semity, California, and its Stupendous Waterfalls."
The D. News received news from the Mariposa Gazette of a visit by J.M. Hutchings and two other men.
The group started their journey from and Indian village in Fresno, accompanied by two Indian guides.
(Yosemite was believed to have been first discovered by non-Indians four years earlier, in 1851.)
The men described their first view of Yosemite Valley as "singular and romantic" and that "we were almost speechless with admiration at its wild and sublime grandeur."
                                                 El Capitan.

They noticed the "Captain," as it was called by Native Americans (and eventually to be titled "El Capitan." This was a 2,800-foot-tall slab of granite.

                                              Bridalveil Falls.

Opposite of the granite monolith, was a "magnificent waterfall about seven hundred feet in height." (This was likely Bridalveil Falls.) Passing further up the Valley, they noticed more immense walls of rock, one looking light a lighthouse, with pine trees forests all over the area.

                                           Yosemite Falls.

Next, they noticed an even taller waterfall, some 2,200 feet in height -- and they declared it the tallest in the world (definitely Yosemite Falls).
Later, they noticed a third spectacular waterfall, this one about 1,500-feet-high (Perhaps Vernal Falls).
The men said trout, grouse and pigeons were all plentiful in the Valley.
(NOTE that Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in the U.S., but not the world, though in the 19th Century, it was believed to be No. 1.)
-In the summer of 1888, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that one of its correspondents has visited Yosemite. He boasted of 350-foot-high trees and of a 2,000-foot-tall waterfall, highest in the world, as printed in the Aug. 24, 1888 edition of the newspaper. This is the first report of someone from Utah actually visiting Yosemite.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The first public Halloween event in Utah was not held until 1885; Pranks, not candy ruled Halloween in the 1930s

               Household Halloween decorations are common today in Utah.

THE first media mention of an October Halloween observance in Utah was probably in the Salt Lake Herald newspaper on Nov. 1, 1877.
"Last evening was Halloween," the story stated, "And among many from the old countries was held in remembrance by indulging in the innocent fireside pastimes so common on the occasion in Britain. Snatch apple, dutch apple, and little amusements that brought back memories of childhood's days were enjoyed by numbers throughout Utah and elsewhere."
-The next mention of Halloween was not until 1885, when the Oct. 30 edition of the Salt Lake Tribune advertised a Halloween party sponsored by the ladies of the Congregational Church of Salt Lake. The notice stressed that this was the first public "Halloween Party" ever given in Utah. Admission was 25 cents a person for the Oct. 31 event, with food, music and fortunes told. "The church  is in need of money," the notice also stated.
Previously, there had been small social gatherings held in Salt Lake homes on Halloween night. For example, the first mention of those was a year prior, in 1884, as the S.L. Herald stated on Nov. 1 of that year.

-JUMP AHEAD more than 50 years to 1939 and Halloween night in Layton, Utah featured little about candy and was mostly about criminal mischief and pranks.
“Halloween pranks, vandalism annoy County citizens” was a  headline in the Davis County Clipper newspaper on  Nov. 3, 1939.
Waxing windows was a very common prank, along with the theft of automobile parts and dumping sugar beets.
In Layton, the porch of one home was badly scorched when youth tossed a signal torch upon it. The homeowner fortunately put out the fire before it set the structure ablaze.
One of the retail stores in Layton posted watchmen on the night of Oct. 31 in front of its large windows to prevent vandals from waxing them. However, “Halloweeners” on horseback used lassos to incapacitate the guards while other juveniles waxed all the store windows.
-In Syracuse, sugar beets in a rail car bound for the Layton processing plant were dumped on the spur line by a group of boys – despite weighing tons. Sheriff’s officers apprehended the juveniles.
-In Centerville, some homes were plastered with fruit and vegetables thrown by pranksters.
“Halloween is a time for pure fun,” the newspaper reported. “But when citizens everywhere have to be on guard to protect their homes and places of business … then it is time for parents and all citizens to unite and educate the youth of today upon the rights of everyone and that these costly depredations must stop.”

                 "Trunk or Treats" events became common in the early 21st Century in Utah, as an                                  alternative to going door-to-door in neighborhoods for candy and treats.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Is there a face visible on the west side of Salt Lake's Ensign Peak?

    There's a face of some sort on the west side of Ensign Peak.           Photograph by Ray Boren

IS there a face on the west side of Ensign Peak, north of downtown Salt Lake City?
Retired Deseret News editor and long-time Capitol Hill neighborhood resident Ray Boren said to him it resembles a St. Bernard dog, not a human face at all.
Looking at Boren's photograph (shown above), there is definitely a face or resemblance of some sort there, probably depends on one's own imagination what it appears to be ...
However, it was a different story a century ago:
"Salt Lake has a 'Great Stone Face'; It's Irish" was a June 26, 1918 headline in the Salt Lake Herald newspaper.
The story credits Miss Mary Elizabeth Downey, State Library organizer, for first noticing the face on the side of the historic Utah mountain peak. Working at the State Capitol Building, she had a clear window view of Ensign Peak, back when there was little housing development to the north.
"I an generally rather dense in seeing such things, but I confess this struck me instantly," Downey told the Herald newspaper. "The fact that the afternoon shadows grow longer, the profile is merely intensified adds to its charm. Tourists would be delighted to be shown this phenomenon of 'The Laughing Irishman.' He is standing guard over Ensign Peak as a sentry and is laughing at us little folk, working like ants in the great city below."

              Ensign Peak as seen from State Street and South Temple Street.

             The view from atop Ensign Peak, looking west toward the "Face" (not visible).

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A look at University of Utah spring traditions in 1918: whitewashing, ducking, track meet and dancing

                                     The block U on the University of Utah campus.

A century ago, University of Utah students had some unusual traditions.
According to the Salt Lake Herald newspaper of April 13, 1918, the "U Day" at the University of Utah was a busy, mostly outdoor day.
First, the freshman male students, 489, in number that year, hauled brooms, water barrels and sacks up lime up to the "U" symbol on the mountainside. They then proceeded to give the lettering its annual whitewashing.
After completing that task, the freshman men went to the gymnasium where the women students gave them a banquet. Next on Cummings Field, the Freshman class lost to the Sophomore Class in a tug-of-war. This mean the Frosh had a "public ducking."
Later in the day, an annual athletic contest, a track meet competition was held between University Faculty and the Chronicle's editorial staff (student newspaper). The honors mostly went to the writers. However, the usual cross county race was canceled.
The following day, an informal dance was held to climax the "L" celebration at the University.
So it was about a century ago at the U. in Salt Lake City.

Lake Side, between Kaysville and Farmington, the first Great Salt Lake resort

      The Lake Side resort was located a mile or so north of this area, along the Great Salt Lake.

THE first established resort along the shores of the Great Salt Lake is also perhaps the most obscure and forgotten -- "Lake Side."
Located between Farmington and Kaysville, the first mention of the resort was in the June 9, 1870 edition of the Salt Lake Herald newspaper.
The Utah Central Railroad had a "Lake Side Station" in 1870 and passengers from Salt Lake paid $1 for a fare there. Then, it was a half-mile walk west to the actual resort.
John W. Young, a son of Brigham Young, established the resort. (John Young was an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and later was a First Counselor in the First Presidency.)
Haight's Grove provided shade at Lake Side resort and in 1870, it was another 440 yard walk to the actual Great Salt Lake water.
Lake Side later, in 1872,  became more well known as a stopping point for the steamer, "City of Corrine" as it boated on the lake between there and Lake Point, on the south end of the briny waters. Such a boat cruise lasted three hours (Salt Lake Herald May 8, 1872).
It was a good thing for the boating at Lake Side, because a May 22, 1872 Deseret News story stated that the resort itself had a Marshy bottom" for land. The reporter noted that for 30 or 40 dollars worth of labor, a good trail could be created for passengers walking from the Lake Side train station to the boat ramp.
However, once the reporter caught sight of the City of Corrine Steamer, he stressed how large and streamlined it was, drawing all attention away from the bleak shoreline around the Great Salt Lake.
By July of 1883, the Salt Lake Herald of July 19, 1883 stated that a new pleasure boat offered trips from Lake Side.
The resort's final newspaper mention was in the summer of 1886 in the July 27 issue of the Salt Lake Herald. That was likely its final season and it is probably no coincidence that Simon Bamberger's much better developed "Lake Park" resort a few miles south premiered that summer. (That was the forerunner to Lagoon.)

The boat’s Corrine name was later changed to Garfield, according to the Salt Lake Herald newspaper of July 31, 1910.
This was a large stern wheelboat, really made for use on a river, like the Mississippi, and not so safe on the Great Salt Lake, as passengers were said to attest.
One of the final trips the boat made included some 75 passengers, with a Captain Dorris at the helm. The boat left from the south end of the lake, with the destination being Promontory Point on the north end.
However, a heavy storm struck almost immediately and the captain lost control of the boat. It drifted toward Antelope Island and as darkness set in, all attempts to anchor the boat failed. It was daybreak before boat control was regained. The danger had kept most of the passengers from even eating as the storm was so fierce and the danger so high.

 -And, yes, it is all the "Lake" names of the historic resorts along the Great Salt Lake that make examining them so confusing ...

     Farmington's Buffalo Trail is located slightly south of where the Lake Side resort was located.

Farmington narrowly missed having an Insane Asylum in 1880

                           Looking down a section of Shephard Canyon, lower left.
                                                                                                                Photo by Roger Arave.

FARMINGTON, Utah is the capital of Davis County, but it narrowly missed becoming the home to the territory's insane Asylum back in 1880.
According to the Deseret News of June 30, 1880, there had been some strong consideration given to locating the asylum near the mouth of Shepherd's Canyon in Farmington.
The story states that there was a desirable property available at Shepherd's for a reasonable cost. It was also within a mile of the Utah Central Railroad line.
A government vote actually passed to locate the asylum in Farmington. However, many Salt Lake City residents protested the location and so the vote was reconsidered.
In the end, the  Insane Asylum was located in Provo.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

'Great Bear Story: Bruin run down to Death by an Engine

                                     Modern railroad tracks.

IT was bear vs. train in early January of 1893.

According to the Ogden Standard Newspaper of January 4, 1893, a train running from the Golden Spike area of Promontory to Ogden, Utah was operated by Engineer Alexander and "struck something with terrible force but cleared the tracks without going into the ditch. The night air was filled with heartrending screams of pain but as it was quite dark and the cab had become suddenly filled with dust and gravel, nothing could be seen by the engineer or his fireman. The locomotive was backed up as near as possible to the place where the accident occurred. The cries had ceased and a careful search failed to disclose the whereabouts of the injured creature. As nothing more could be done the run in to Ogden was made without accident."
The story reported that on the return trip the Engineer "was surprised to see hanging up at the Blue Creek section house a magnificent silver tip bear.
Workers had found the massive bear lying near the track. The account stated it weighed some 1,500 pounds.
"The hide is being cured and will be used by Alexander as a rug to remind him of his narrow escape," the story stated.
This was also likely the same bear that attacked cattle in the Clear Creek mountains in the past two years.

The seldom mentioned Lake Monsters of Stansbury Island and Panguitch Lake

TALES of the Bear Lake Monster are well-known in Utah, but how about the Stansbury Lake Monster of the Great Salt Lake and the Panguitch Lake Monster?
These are two separate lake creatures, who in the past generated their own legends.

The Stansbury Island Monster:
"Monster that Swims and Flies sighted on Stansbury Island Shores" was a July 30, 1903 headline in the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper.
Martin Gilbert and John Barry were two Utah hunters who claimed to spot the creature, which they said was some 65 feet long, with an alligator-like head, spiny scales all over its body and wings than spanned 100 feet.
The men saw the creature fly and eat a horse whole. They shot at it, though all that did was mean some salt crystals rained down on them, as if the monster had armor of crystal salt.
They tracked the creature to a cave, but dared no enter inside. Soon, the creature flew away and when it came back about an hour later, it had the mangled horse in its mouth. After eating, it entered the lake waters and swam northward until it disappeared.

Although the Herald newspaper reported the initial report with no skepticism, the following day was different -- The Herald Newspaper on Aug. 1, 1903, reported: "The monster, the two hunters described carried enough salt encrusted on its body for every person who read their tale to have accepted the story with several grains of salt. However,t he impression that one of the imaginative nimrods in none other than Walt McDougall, who writes strange animal stories and draws wonderful pictures for the children, is growing daily. -- Editor the Telegram."

-And those two references were all there was to the Stansbury creature.

The Panguitch Lake Monster:
The Salt Lake Herald of  Sept. 21, 1878 carried the headline, "A Lake Legend: The Monster of Panguitch Lake: What the Indians say of Him, His Coming and His Going."
The story recount a lengthy Native American tale of the lake monster where the beast killed a hundred Indian maidens. One warrior vowed vengeance and eventually stormed the lake with thousands of warriors. The beast fled southward in a great flood and was eventually swallowed up in the Earth at the sink of tghe Sevier River.

A July 4, 1891 story in the Deseret Weekly newspaper stated that Panguitch Lake cannot boast of it monsters, like Bear Lake, because it has none.

-In addition to the monsters already mentioned, there are tales of a Sevier Lake Monster (since that's where the Panguitch Lake Monster supposedly went, though in recent decades there is NO water there); there is also the tale of a Utah Lake Monster and also the report of a sea monster on the north end of the Great Salt Lake.

-Add all the sea monsters up, 10 at Bear Lake in the initial report and those recounted here and there are at least 15 total monsters in 5 different bodies of water.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The 2 former 'Temples of Health' -- Salt Lake and Ogden's Deseret Gymnasiums

                               The Former Deseret Gymnasium in Ogden, 550 25th Street.

ONE of the most exciting developments in Salt Lake City during the early 20th Century was the opening of the Deseret Gymnasium in 1910.
This "Temple of Health," as some referred to it, existed for some 87 years. (It also served many non-LDS Church members in the area.)
AND, not to be outdone, Ogden residents lobbied for their own Deseret Gymnasium and it opened in 1925 (decades even before Ogden had its own spiritual temple).
Salt Lake's Deseret Gymnasium opened its doors on Sept. 20, 1910. Located where the LDS Church Office Building now stands on North Temple Street, the Gym was just east of the Salt Lake Temple. It was part of the old downtown LDS University and used by students and the public.
Its official grand opening featured an orchestra and the facility cost $250,000 (or $6.14 million in 2017 dollar values).
Centerpiece of the Gym was its 30 by 60-foot swimming pool. 
Indeed, the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper stated on Sept. 17, 1910 that an early opening of just the swimming pool proved to be a chaotic and unpredictable affair.
"A mob of more than a thousand attacked the Deseret gymnasium at the rear of the Latter-day Saints' University this morning and for a time it looked as though the doors would be battered down and the building would be taken by a storm," the Telegram reported.
The Gym had advertised that any boy age 7 and up would be admitted free that morning and hence the mob.
"An average of 100 boys and hour were admitted to the pool," the story stated and some 1,500 boys got a free swim that day. The pool was 4.5 to 8.5 feet deep.
Men and women had separate hours of pool usage during the gym's early decades.
The original Gym also contained 6 bowling alleys, a basketball court and much more.
In April of 1911, the Deseret Gymnasium also had athletes put on exhibitions for General Conference visitors, with calisthenics, folk dancing and games (Salt Lake Tribune April 5, 1911).
The Salt Lake Tribune of March 9, 1911 also stated that indoor baseball games had been held inside the Deseret Gym.
In early 1960s, the Salt Lake Deseret Gym was aging and too small. A new, larger Gym was built to the northwest and opened in 1965. It featured a much larger swimming pool and even an indoor track above its main basketball court.
There was also a popular barber shop in the building and many a departing missionary had their hair cut there in the 1960s and early 1970s, before the MTC came along in Provo.
The Salt Lake Deseret Gymnasium closed in 1997 to make way for the new Conference Center, a block north of Temple Square.
-Ogden's Deseret Gymnasium, 550 25th Street, closed in the early 1990s and was sold in 1993 to Total Fitness. 

-Today, such gymnasiums are probably not needed, at least ones operated by the LDS Church, since many private gym/fitness and swimming facilities now exist.

Monday, July 10, 2017

One of the first drownings in the Great Salt Lake

            Davis County 4th graders play in the Great Salt Lake at Antelope Island.

YES, you can drown in the briny, buoyant waters of the Great Salt Lake.
Although the GSL's waters are 3 to 5 times saltier than the ocean and and can't sink -- but "float like the cork" there, you can drown in the water.
Inhaling the water can choke and gag you and the briny water can fill your lungs and stop your breathing.
One of the FIRST, if not the first recorded drownings in the Great Salt Lake happened on Sunday, August 6, 1882.
According to the Ogden Herald newspaper of Aug. 7, 1882, J.D. Farmer, a well-known Salt Lake City businessman, drowned near the Black Rock resort, on the lake's south end. Although his body could not be initially found, his clothing was discovered in one of the bath houses. He could not be located when the day's final train was ready to return to Salt Lake City. People searched for his body, but it was not found until more than four years later.
The Salt Lake Herald newspaper of Oct. 13, 1886 reported than his body was finally found about eight miles west of Garfield, along the shoreline there. The skeleton's size apparently matched Farmer's height.
The Great Salt Lake has an average depth of 14 feet and pockets of it can be about 36 feet deep, depending on lake elevation. 

                     A youth floats like at cork in the Great Salt Lake.

-Although no one can be certain if the first drowning in the Great Salt Lake wasn't the Salt Lake grave robber, John Baptiste, whom Brigham Young exiled to Fremont Island in the spring of 1862. This since he was never found after an escape from the isle, the Salt Lake Herald Newspaper of Nov. 14, 1895 published an account of the robber where "fact and fiction mixed." 
This report was originally published in the Chicago Chronicle newspaper and was simply, "a wild, weird story." It states that Baptiste was exiled on "Church Island" (Antelope Island), when the fact is the location was Fremont Island.
This Chicago story, a forerunner of fake news, spins Church Island as haunted and avoided because Baptiste has turned into a wild man, hairy, old and dangerous. It even acts like the Great Salt Lake is extremely dangerous with many boats sunk and people drowned.
A work of fiction in the 1890s, it would make for a dismal TV movie plot today.